first time road trip to New Orleans, Lafayette, Louisiana - advice please?
Replies: 20 - Last Post: Jul 26, 2012 7:03 AM Last Post By: waxbean
Jul 15, 2012 1:58 AM
Any advice on locations, motels, cost, places to visit etc would be hugely appreciated - thankyou.
Jul 15, 2012 2:11 AM
1Ok so I should add more details! We're 35(ish) are happy to 'rough' it a bit (used to sleeping in canoes and under canvas in africa) and are really after new experiences, good food and interaction with local people. We are happy to drive a bit but not spend 4 hours every day in the car. We like the look of the places i listed above but haven't planned a specific route yet. For cost purposes we'd be happy to stay basic, rural mixed with quirky motels/hotels too. Apols if this is still vague but I'd be happy to hear some experiences which might influence where we go? thanks again, M x
Jul 15, 2012 5:32 AM
Jul 15, 2012 8:48 AM
3You don't say where you're coming from or how long you plan to visit, but I'm going to assume the UK and at least 2 - 4 weeks.
1. Possibility of a hurricane aside, Oct/Nov is a good time for the Deep South since the temperatures will actually be very pleasant. Would suggest Oct or early Nov rather than late Nov - both to avoid the massive travel mess associated with Thanksgiving, and also because the landscape will still be a bit greener in Oct.
2. Asheville is a very nice place but it is completely out of the way from the other places you mentioned. Also, while any state that was part of the Confederacy counts as "southern", North Carolina is not the DEEP South - especially the mountians of western NC! Also, it not inconceivable that there might already be a snowfall or two in Asheville by late Nov.
3. So I owuld suggest sticking to the true Deep South. Depending on how long you have, you could fly to say, Houston (the nearest place with nonstop flights from LHR) and rent a car to drive around in south Louisiana and New Orleans (it's about a 6-hour drive from Houston to NO). Lots to do in south Louisiana - the Cajun towns with their food and music, historic plantation homes, swamps, and even off-beat places like Avery Island, Rockefeller Widllife Refuge (if you like that sort of thing), the chenier communities, etc..
Andthat does not even include New Orleans (woudl check that your travel dates don't coincide with any big business conventions in NO however. Could even cross over to a few Mississpi beaches, which believe it or not, might still be warm enough for swimming in early October. Then back to Houston to drop off car and fly home.
But if you have longer - say 3 - 4 weeks, you might consider an open jaws route to see more of the Deep South. First
part as above - and then keep driving east through Alabama and into Georgia and South Carolina - for Charleston and Savannah(both unique places with history, architecture, cuisine, etc..) plus lots else to do (Low Country, etc..). And then fly back from Atlanta (also nonstops to LHR) plus Atlanta itself has a lot to offer.
Or you could the whole thing in reverse ( Altanta - Houston).
Yes, this might involve one-way drop-off fee for the rental car - but not necessarily. It depends on the rental company, the time of year, and especially the drop-off destinations.
4. As far as hotels, your cheapest bet is chain motels, especially outside big cities. Try the Choice motel chains, Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Motel 6, etc....
Not "quirky" - but they serve the purpose, and let you save your money for other activities. B&Bs in the US are not budget accomodations - they tend to be renovated homes in historic or coutryside locations with upscale decor and amenities and prices to match. I don't think you're going to find too many hostels in Mamou LA or Mobile AL.
Jul 15, 2012 12:15 PM
4Check out our musical heritage:
*Zydeco--*the birthplace of Zydeco is Opelousas, Louisiana. This music was created by Black Creoles who used the French fiddle, German button accordion, washboard (rubboard) and French lyrics. It derived from "la la" French Creole music, Cajun music, Blues and R & B. The first true Zydeco recording was made in 1954 ("Paper in my Shoe"). It was popularized by Clifton Chenier who was known as the King of Zydeco. A popular Zydeco club is Slim's. In Lafayette there is the Acadia Village which portrays early French Acadian (Cajun) life.
*Jazz--*the birthplace of Jazz is New Orleans in the 1890s. It is considered to be the only truly America form of music. Buddy Bolton can be considered the father of Jazz. Other pioneers include Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong. Jazz involves improvisation, syncopation and a forceful rhythm. It developed out of Ragtime and derives from the Blues and call and response field hollers. Jazz can be heard at Preservation Hall and the House of Blues. New Orleans style Jazz can still be heard. There is also the Jazz National Historic Park. America's music grew up in Kansas City in the 1930s where it adopted a hard-swinging, bluesy, jumping style.
*Soul--*Memphis claims to be the birthplace of Soul because of the number of Soul musicians who recorded at Stax Studios (open to public). Stax Records started in 1957 and recorded Ottis Redding, Booker T and the MGs, Isaac Hays and Wilson Picket. Of course, Detroit (Motown sound) and Philadelphia can also claim this title. Mowtown Records was founded in in 1959 at the urging of Smoky Robinson. Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Jackson 5 and Gladys Night and the Pips are recorded there. There is the Mowtown Historical Museum.
*Blues--*Clarksdale, Mississippi claims to be the birthplace of the Blues. It is located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta where the Blues first developed. Musicians like the famous Robert Johnson, Freddie Spruell, Big Joe Williams Son House, Muddy Waters and Lead Belly were from or played in the region. There is the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale. There is the Blues Highway (US 61) which runs from Beale Street in Memphis to Merigold. However, the nearby Great River Road is more interesting and scenic. W.C. Handy has claimed the mantle of Father of the Blues. He was a blues composer and musician who landed in Beale Street in Memphis around 1903. Others who played on Beale Street included BB King, Muddy Waters and Louis Armstrong. Blues is one of the most important influences on the development of popular music in the U.S. It is characterized by microtonal pitch inflections and a 12-measure form.
*Rock 'n' Roll*--Memphis can claim to be the birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll because early rock 'n' rollers recorded in Sun Studios (open to public). Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded there. However, the exhibits at Sun Studios overemphasize Elvis Presley who recorded later. Cleveland can also claim to be the birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll because the first rock 'n' roll concert was held in the city. There is the outstanding Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
Jul 15, 2012 1:38 PM
5Don't eat seafood from the gulf.
I got sick as Hell for a night and day, in New Orleans. Just four months ago.
The gulf will never be the same after BP.
Jul 16, 2012 11:24 AM
6Bayou Cabins in Breaux Bridge is a great place to stay--reasonably priced cabins right on the bayou. The owners make their own Cajun specialties, and will serve you a platter of boudin and cracklin on arrival, and a full breakfast in the morning (both included in the cabin price).
Nearby is Mulates, a well-known Cajun restaurant, and Lake Martin, a bird reserve.
Lake Fausse Point State Park is a nice state park where you can rent canoes and explore the bayous on your own. Well worth doing.
Take a swamp tour to see alligators and other wildlife--there are many options throughout Louisiana. We went with Honey Island Swamp Tours and had no complaints.
There are many plantation homes to tour. Visit Oak Alley for the "classic" plantation, with a romanticized tour out of "Gone with the Wind." Then visit Laura Plantation for an excellent tour based on the diaries of all who lived at the plantation. The home is being refurbished after a fire and is in rough shape, but the tour is excellent--an unvarnished view of plantation life, including unpleasant realities.
The Tabasco hot sauce factory at Avery Island is not much, but the gardens are worth a tour.
There is great food everywhere. I would suggest doing plenty of research but also just sampling what strikes your fancy--many out-of-the-way places serve incredible local specialties.
Jul 16, 2012 2:29 PM
Jul 16, 2012 2:59 PM
Jul 16, 2012 4:40 PM
9Don't eat seafood from the gulf. I got sick as Hell for a night and day, in New Orleans. Just four months ago.The gulf will never be the same after BP.
Not for a long time, anyway. Despite the barrage of ads paid for by BP, there are reports of "headless" shrimp, fish with two heads...
Jul 19, 2012 7:25 AM
10New Orleans - I think it is funny that people are saying not to eat our seafood. November is the start of OYSTER season in New Orleans and you would be stupid not to suck down a bunch of raw ones. #5 If you got sick it's because some restaurants here are downright filthy and you ate at one of them. Don't blame the seafood industry for improper food handling practices and crappy cooks.
Jul 19, 2012 8:56 AM
It's like mercury in Tuna. Cooking doesn't get rid of it.
Jul 19, 2012 9:08 AM
Jul 19, 2012 9:22 AM
Jul 19, 2012 11:24 AM
14Does anyone have any actual evidence on the seafood question?
I think the shallow south is more interesting than the Deep South, except for New Orleans. You could try a route along the lines of NO, Natchez, Memphis, Nashville, Great Smoky Mts NP, Asheville, Charlottesville, Washington DC. Or after Asheville make it Charleston and Savannah instead.
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